One of the outstanding vegetarian sandwiches in the Elmwood Village can be found in the most unlikely places

Louie's Foot Long Hot Dogs at the corner of Elmwood and Hodge avenues.

Louie's (470 Elmwood Ave., 884-0382), known for the foot-long dogs turned out from its tiny kitchen since 1951, doesn't make the veggie burgers in-house. But its staff does treat them right, tossing them on the charcoal-fired for extra smoky flavor.

"That's probably the reason we sell a ton of the veggie dogs and veggie burgers," said manager Pat Cahoon. "I've had vegetarians say it's so unique that you cook over charcoal."

The veggie burger ($3.69) is served with lettuce, tomato and honey mustard on a whole wheat bun. The patty is made of rolled oats, brown rice, honey, wheat flour and mushrooms. It has some dairy by-products, too, so it's not vegan -- but Louie's has a meatless burger of soy and textured vegetable protein that is.

How did Louie's get on a veggie kick? It started on Elmwood years ago, Cahoon said. "It was just the clientele, saying 'We want to eat something light, something vegetarian.' It started with the veggie burger."

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau